HONOLULU, Jan. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In an overwhelming ruling in favor of the bail industry, California Federal Judge Gonzalez Rogers struck down motions in a federal lawsuit seeking to eliminate cash bail in California yesterday at the Federal Court in Oakland. The ruling followed months of legal posturing by a non-profit group called Equal Justice Under the Law (EJUL) and Washington DC attorney Phil Telfeyan. The group claims that bail bonds unfairly target the poor because they cannot afford the bail to get out of jail. Beth Chapman, star of "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and "Dog and Beth: On the Hunt", disagrees with that assertion.
"Bail limits are determined by judges but state law gives the judges authority to make a bail bond commensurate to the violation," said Chapman. "Just because someone can't afford the amount authorized by law doesn't mean their rights are being violated. That's as ridiculous as suggesting that your rights are being violated if you can't afford the cost of getting a driver's license and therefor shouldn't have to pay."
Chapman teamed up with the California Bail Agents Association (CBAA) to get the bail industry listed as an intervener in the case along with the city of San Francisco. The unprecedented move by the industry and the T.V. star shows how disastrous a ruling in favor of EJUL would have been to the industry and the public safety needs of the average citizen.
"Even though we were not named in the suit directly we felt it necessary to stand with the city to ensure that the people's interest were represented," stated Maggie Kriens, vice-president of the CBAA. "There is no doubt that our industry would be devastated by a ruling in favor of EJUL but also the safety of the public would be put at risk because of how easy it would be to get out of jail with no supervision or accountability to show up for a court date. We could not sit idly by and let the people of California be put at risk by this awful move."
The strategy of intervening with the industry was the brain child of Beth Chapman who is the wife of popular T.V. star Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman. Chapman has been in the bonding business for 30 years and she has spent much of the last decade advocating legislative changes across the country to protect the bail industry and ensure criminals have a reason to return to court to face their charges. She has also been tracking and challenging lawsuits like this and has vowed to take the fight to those seeking to make it easier to let the criminal out of jail.
"Our industry typically has not gotten involved to this level and that is something that must change," said Chapman. "We have been operating in successful partnership with the judicial system for over 200 years but we cannot take it for granted that it will always be that way. This is the sole reason Duane and I temporarily suspended our show while these incredibly important battles are taking place. Mr. Telfeyan has stated the he will be filing suits in other states across the country and I promise I will be there to fight this every time."
Mrs. Chapman is currently running as president of the Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS), a national organization which represents over 15,000 bail agents across the country. Showing the importance of the fights ahead, the couple stunned the entertainment industry in early January by not renewing their contract with CMT for a fourth season of their popular show "Dog and Beth: On the Hunt". They stated that their priority needed to be Beth's campaign and their continued work in getting the industry involved in both legal and legislative advocacy.
"This is what true leadership looks like, putting the needs of others ahead of yourself," said Kriens. "I am thankful for the leadership Beth has taken in this case and in so many other situations like this across the country. If our industry is to survive it will take people like the Chapman's to step up and fight for us. In the end, it's not only good for the bail bond industry but also for the safety of the general public."
Judge Gonzalez Rogers did not go so far as to dismiss the case altogether but instead denied all of the motions filed by EJUL and gave them 30 days to "think of a legal venue" to accomplish their goal but even stated "I don't know if it exists". Assuming they are able to come before the court again there is little doubt that Beth Chapman and the CBAA will be there armed and ready with the facts and the proper arguments to ensure the bail industry remains a critical part of the criminal justice system.
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SOURCE California Bail Agents Association (CBAA)